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Oklahoma storms: Tornado followed by flooding in Delaware County

Oklahoma storms: Residents of southern Delaware County who were hit by a tornado Sunday are now struggling with flooding caused by the rain-swollen Illinois River.
BY SHEILA STOGSDILL sheilastogsdill@sbcglobal.net Published: May 24, 2011

— Two families were evacuated from a tornado-stricken area of southern Delaware County after the Illinois River crested Tuesday, said Robert Reel, Delaware County emergency management director.

The families were evacuated by boat at the Fiddler's Bend area and sent to a Red Cross shelter at the Kansas High School gymnasium, Reel said.

“At first they were hit by a tornado and now floodwaters,” Reel said.

The Illinois River crested at Watts on Tuesday morning at 25 feet, said Ed Fite, Oklahoma Scenic Rivers Commission administrator. Flood stage is 11 feet.

Watts is about 15 miles from Fiddler's Bend, which is a campground area with cabins and weekend homes. The campground area is two miles east of Kansas, OK, where hundreds of trees in the densely wooded area were uprooted.

Fite said 40 families were affected by the storms.

“Some of the houses that were on the hillside, the tornado got them, the other houses that are in the holler are sitting in 15 feet of floodwater,” Fite said.

In nearby West Siloam Springs, 17 homes were destroyed and 12 people injured when an EF2 tornado struck the area.

The shelter was moved to Kansas High School gymnasium after county officials reassessed the damage, Reel said.


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